Astaroth's March (A story of the Calling)

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The Tenth Lord
The man with the crimson mantle and hat with the purple ostrich feather continued to sing his song and guide the masses. Where he walked the demon fiends unleashed by Scorn recoiled and withdrew. Those greater demons with the strength to stand against the power of the hope the man's song inspired, were enraged by it instead and attempted to descend upon the man whose voice angered them so and those with him whose song soothed and empowered.

A Nalfeshne, a grotesque abomination conceived by the twisted rulers of the Abyss, feels a strange urge as the song washes over him. An ancient hatred from deep within it's core. Being a being with a bound spirit and body, the Nalfeshne felt the pull of the song much stronger and its inspiration brought hatred and visions of endless agony and torment upon those that would utter it. Mad and frenzied now the beast abandons its latest capture, a bus of high schoolers attempting to be evacuated from the city. It takes to the air, soaring above the crowded city streets and the scenes of carnage and despair below. The beast would enjoy the scenes before it now, with the abyssal horde descending upon a undefended populace, but no, the hatred within for the song draws it unerringly to its source. A small man, with shimmering golden eyes and bright cheerful smile. Strolling down through the streets, buildings burning and death and mayhem all around, an old time lute being casually strummed as the song leaves his lips. Following him is a sea of people. Some take up the song, others aid in rescuing those trapped or in need of assistance and still others take up arms and stand strong against the on coming demons.

When the Nalfeshne is spotted, a demon so large, the shadow it casts could darken a city block, the masses' courage is tested. Why did they leave there hiding places? Why did they follow this stupid man singing a jaunty? What could they do against a force so foul and evil? The most stalwart raised what arms they could against the hulking beast. Gunfire rang out above the sounds of the flames that consumed the city and screams of the dying. Incantions hastily spoken and glyphs of power drawn seemingly from the air appear in the ground as bolts of magical force race towards the enraged demon. As it descends upon the man who's song angers it so the hail of bullets and magical bolts strike the beast, the pain only seeming to fuel the beasts anger and failing to slow it in the least.

So enraged is the beast now that it doesn't notice the mans voice shift. No longer does the inspirational words wash over the crowd, giving them hope and courage, but another feeling does, one of anger and pain and torment of times past. To the Nalfeshne though the song is much different. Anger and pain at the atrocities the beast has comitted in its long last assail its senses. The uncaring beast, not knowing why it suddenly feels the pain and sorrow of regret and guilt, waivers in its dive on the man. Landing rather ungracefully the beast stands stunned, towering over the little man who's words have stopped the beast in its tracks.

Again the man's song changes, this time unbearable to those closest to him. A cacophony of destruction emanates from the man, small against twenty foot height of the Nalfeshne. As the unimaginable noise being generated by this small man washes over the Nalfeshne, it truelly fears destruction. Unknowing pains sparks the spirit of the beast as its physical body and very essence are discorporated by the cacophony of destruction being brought to bear against him. In a few seconds the once mighty demon lord experiences more soul stealing agony than the creature has known its entire existance.

As the man's cacophony dies down and cheer arises from the masses. A true heartfelt cheer from the crowd as the Nalfeshne, that nightmare inspiring creature from the infinitely evil realms of the Abyss, has been destroyed. They did not err in their judgment to follow this man, this wanderer, this story teller, this..Hero. He stood strong against a demon of legend and defeated the foul incarnation. He's already saved hundreds of lives, yet he does not ask anything. And when those golden orbs fall upon you, you can't help but know that everything be fine as long as his words are heard.

And so the being they will come to know as Astaroth continues his march towards the center of town, to the Kellendil monument, in search of survivors and inspiring hope in those that the mighty seem to have forgotten.
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The sky was black, poisoned by the piles of burnt corpses that littered the battlefield below; stacked haphazardly without the respect others might bestow upon a fallen enemy. Halfway across the world, a song of inspiration was sung - but here, a darker melody played, over the drums of war the fallen's cries for mercy fell upon deaf ears, serving as the orchestra for the brutal conductor which spearheaded this campaign. Despite the riches he'd undoubtedly amassed during these "crusades," he bore little semblance to what one might envision, when considering a Warlord of the notoriety he once claimed. His appearance mirrored those who marched beneath his banner; armor mismatched and ill-treated, suggesting the length of his campaign. Beneath rusted chain mail, a blackened heart pounded - enticed by the bloodshed, driven by it even more so than he'd been in decades past. Between deserters, and lack of medical treatment; his numbers dwindled, more-so a band of pillagers than a legion. Betrayed first by his own brother, and then by the very machine that once empowered him - he was left dead and seemingly abandoned by 'the warp.' He'd served his master well, and carried on traditions in his absence with near-frenzied zeal; thus he was unable to fathom the apparent betrayal, assuming he had simply fallen out of favor, or been replaced with someone younger, more ferocious even. Such thoughts only drove him closer to the edge, resulting in more bloodletting than ever before - only now he acted simply out of hatred, rather than loyalty. Although no longer able to command the elements, he's since embraced fear and greed as his allies.

As the screams slowly died, and corpse piles smoldered; he lowered to a kneel in the war-torn field - removing his dented helmet, and carelessly discarding it to the side. Despite his "victory," his eyes harbored no such joy, ever the malcontent. Gazing down, towards the soil he'd soured with innocent blood, his head cocked to the side in a curious gesture. Thrusting his bare hand into the earth, he dug like an animal, flinging dirt this way and that. As he dug, a number of his followers encircled him, watching on curiously - while the rest continued to pillage the dead, claiming anything that could be used to inflict the same fate upon the next village they arrived in. Finally, his digging slowed, and his head lowered - seemingly in a state of silent prayer. He reached down carefully with both hands; producing a skull from the small hole. He held the object first at eye-level, gazing intently into the empty eye sockets. Though missing its lower jaw, the skull bore a rather unique characteristic - a set of steel fangs, sloppily grafted on. Slowly, his thin lips arched into a smile, holding the crude object mere inches from his face. Pursing his lips, he brought them to the dirt-caked forehead region of the skull, keeping them pressed firmly against the cold object in a long display of affection. Through a toothy grin, he whispered "My, you've certainly looked better, old boy." Slowly he rose to his feet, gently handling the cracked fossil, as though it were some sort of invaluable artifact. Thrusting his arms into the air, he held the skull high above his head; receiving a chorus of cheers from his followers, as they thrust their weapons into the night sky, seemingly in triumph. He remained in this position, as though soaking it all in - their chants and cheers bringing to life in him something that died long ago. Slowly he lowered the object, holding it closely to his chest as he turned to face the others - whose cheers died down without second cue from him. Again, his silence was broken, "Almost lost my head." Was his simple, cryptic remark, before turning away from the makeshift grave, and making way towards his tent in the distance.

The pieces were falling into place, he could sense it. He knew, the great day of his vengeance was finally at hand. There could only be one "Hidden Lord," and he would soon prove it.
Darren Darglore

He wasn't one of the strongest, nor one of the bravest. He didn't bare arms to defend the capital city, but what he did do was follow a leader of man. He was one of the masses, an old man hidden in a sea of freightened yet warring citizens attempting to defend their capital city.

He was battle tested, worn and broken. His beard disheveled in nappy braids, stained with dust. His sandaled feet almost white from trodding the earth under. His ragged clothes, torn to shreds, exposing his lanky, slim and bony physique. He was a warrior, now retired, but everyone knew they never really retired, the Darglores that is.

That stricken cane, crafted of unknown metals and topped with a luminous green crystal. It's dull rounded end found the ground time again. Untarnished it bore his weight as wobbling legs uneasily followed suit, pushed here, tossed there, falling there. Darren never once cursed, or retaliated...he simply got back up.

But there was another side to this old man, seemingly defenseless, his heart burned where his brothers chilled, it pumped blood where his brothers pumped acid. It beat for his brother, lived for his brother and soon would silence for his brother, for that was his meaning in life, to save his brother.

And so it was with that fleeting thought of his brother that Darren Darglore got up from the dusty rubbled ground one last time, casting stare or glare, here and there.

He'd begin to slow his pursuit, citizen after citizen pushing past until there was noone behind, only then did he seem to walk slow, yet aimlessly in the direction of the crowd which always gained distance on him.

The far away look in those eyes told a tale. Sorrow filled, family feud, murder and betrayal. This was the Darglore, fear and worry creased his brow, a hint of happiness with what he saw. A pillaging, not of this city but of one continents away, a man holding a skull, steel fanged..another nightmare or something more?
"What are you doing, old man?" Voluptuous lips stained red spoke such taunting words ever marred by the sweetness of honey, which concealed the underlying taint of venom. Ever since his outrageous claim that she was his brother's downfall, she's made it a point to appear and remind him of the sin he committed. He was a murderer, afterall... and murder is murder no matter how you try to justify it.

Fingertips drug lazily across a bare midsection, tapping a melody 'pon her flesh that replayed over and over in her head. There was a euphoria in her eyes as though she had been awakened, or enlightened within the last week or so.. She could still taste a sweetness upon her lips. In a moment of hazy recollection, her head fell toward the side Darren stood, lips pulled back in a toothy grin, "Aren't you a little old to be swinging around that worthless stick? You can barely keep yourself upright, let alone defend your..." Her neck craned and her eyes hastily scrutinized the city behind them, ""

Both arms rose in the air, digits interlocking whilst every muscle in her spinal column seemed to pop in objection to her stretching; a small indent even formed from the base of her ribs to the top of her naval. She may have seen many years, but her beautiful physique remained without a scar... save for the upside down V seared into the flesh of her right shoulder. ".. Don't you ever get bored with saving the lives of people who will never remember you..?"

Streaks of platinum danced across her countenance with every kiss of the foul breeze. Death loomed in the horizon, and it thickened the closer they drew to the village that was laid to rest. Digits combed through wayward tresses in an attempt to put them in their rightful place- tucked delicately behind her ears. The hand would rest 'pon the wasteline of her attire, one which clung toward the lowest portion of her hips. Then, they fell to her sides.

"I never understood your need to save these wretches. They'll ignore you for centuries and the only time they remember you is the day that you fail to show up to save them during a time they couldn't protect themselves." Today she took the guise of her former self, though her appearance did seem a little more.. feral, or barbaric. She lacked a certain sophistication she had before it was all torn asunder. What need was there to be a lady when a monster lurked beneath that pretty face?
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Darren Darglore

"I'm not a god, I have no chance of defeating them, but I will NOT! Stand by and watch them destroy this world!"

Eyes withdrawn from the void, he no longer peered through the other world. He was with us again, watching the devastation, the destruction that wrought this city. A monster at work. In times he wondered which would be worse...Scorn or Gargauth.

"Mortals forget, and I forgive them. That's what we are, forgotten by the gods, the powers that could save this planet, this city this whole fucking world. It's people like you that make people like me, you could stop this, but you're more concerned with you're pathetic self!"

Finally he turned, staring at a beautiful beast, those twisted eyes, silver extending their welcome if uninvited glance to this thorny rose.

"I fight when others can not, and I always will. Until the day this cane, Luminex lets me go.."

With those hushed words his head lowered to Novelly's most likely bare feet if only to linger against the visage of her lower body unto her face. Beautiful, heart warming and a turn on as always.

"You're words begin to annoy me, I'll take a line from my brother... Do something useful and go make babies like a good little girl."

Turning away from Novelly he glanced back into the shit storm that was brewing in Ayenee Capital City.

"When you need protection, and you will soon...remember what shit you've put me through before asking me"
"And I wonder, Darren, if people like me did not exist... would there be a need for you at all?" One brow rose with her question. It was a good one, at least. Would the likes of him be needed if there were no monsters skulking in the darkness...watching, waiting? Her lips curled, yet again. Always so easy to anger; his torments were simple. "Why should I stick my neck out for people too afraid to risk their own? Of course it's about myself. I only have myself. You and far too many others taught me the same."

Her cheek ticked at the mentioning of Vaticus, and the baby remark. Was Darren so blind to realize that Novelly did have children... but.. where were they? Clearing her throat, her jawline raised on the side he stod upon, eyes watching him from the tops of her cheek. "I did have children. I hunted them down one by one and slaughtered them with these two hands." Fingertips lifted infront of her eyes as though their blood still gleamed with the waning sun. There the craze set in with the glistening points evident behind lips of red. "There are few that live still, though I plan to remedy that when they come out of hiding."

Laughter spilled from her lips, and it almost sent her to her knees with gut-wrenching glee. "Protection?! I do not share the same cares as you nor the same concerns. I would not care if this world and all the people who lived in it fell. It's the least I can feel with everything they've done to me." Her fingertip drew an invisible line on her jaw, trailing down the arc of her neck. "Though, I wonder. Could you stand there and turn your back on me, and watch me die... even after all the things I've done to you.. with the knowledge that somewhere in this body.. there might be the hope of redemption? Could you be as cruel as Scorn, or as tormenting as Victer?"

Fingers interlocked behind her, and she continued to walk at Darren's side with her irritating questions. There was such joy in tormenting a sick, old man. She couldn't pin-point it, but there was.

I've chosen my side.. Have you?
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In Darren's vision, the desolate landscape was not in color - rather an unsettling hue of a faded bronze, the skull seemed to stare towards him, rather menacingly; it's smooth surface glistened in the hypnotic hues of the landscape. Despite its lack of eyes, there felt a certain contempt behind the piercing stare. As the "vision" progressed, the skull's eyes began to produce a strange smoke-colored substance, which soon masked everything -except- the grinning fossil. Within this haze, Darren would see a vision within a vision; one depicting his betrayal, and the subsequent torment inflicted upon his brother while he had been trapped between life and death; forced to pay for his crimes against humanity - he felt ten-fold the anguish he'd inflicted. He would feel the pain, he would sense the fear and anguish his brother's tormented soul felt, ripped asunder in the maelstorms of the abyss. Quite the ironic fate, for one who relished in inflicting such feelings upon the living. The image would fade, as suddenly as it had occured, leaving Darren with a sense or disorientation, and a slight head-ache; and somewhere, far away, in a frozen battlefield; a conqueror stalked, on a mission to destroy - damned, all ye in his path.


As Darren and Novelly bickered; a stranger watched on from the surrounding forest, crouched among the shrubs like some sort of woodland creature; bent forward in a crouch as he observed in silence. His stare was curious, and unblinking, peering forth from the depths of a hood drawn forward to conceal his features. As Darren turned his back on the female, and made his eventual departure, the stranger would rise to his feet, emerging from obscurity - cloaked in black, the garment did well to mask his identity. Across his back, the mythical Nachtstride was slung; the large mace easily protruding from behind his back, blood still clung to its crude prostrusions from past battles of its former weilder; the fallen Darglore who'd been betrayed by his own brother. He approached her in plain sight, a forked tongue flickering forth from the darkened confines of his visage, breaking his silence with a framiliar voice, "Was that my assassin?" He whispered in a sinister tone; slowly but surely closing the distance between the two. Encircling her, he paused and traced a clawed digit over the mark that'd been seared into her shoulder; almost as though he was taken aback by the symbol. Leaning in towards her neck, his forked tongue again flickered forth as he whispered drly, "It's time..."
Darren Darglore


He stopped, curling toes dug into the rough lashed sole of his sandal, eyes trickled discression just as a right hand found it's back end eering close to this vixen's jaw.

"If people like you were non existent then I'd have a normal life. I'd have living relatives!"

She was greeted with little more than a scowl following that unchivalrous move. After all, she was a woman, even if under all that beautiful flesh she was the devil.

"Try to be a hero someday, you may just like it!...And you may find that you have more than just you're self!"

He ignored the remarks about her children, he knew all to well what she did, and for some reason that didn't...bother him.

But what did bother him was what he saw, his brothers skull, the very skull of the kin he murdered, no it wasn't murder... Self defense!? This vixen turned his brother on him. It was her fault he was dead, her fault his family was dead, and her fault he felt this way. Balling fingers spoke of his intention...but the fist never left his side.

The vision rewound, fast forward and recorded itself into his mind, replaying a hundred times an hour. He shoved the luminex into his brothers chest, all the remained was a metallic fanged skull.

It was safe in the Darglore tombs, til some hellish vixen stole he knew where it was...and he had a feeling he knew where it was going...he knew he'd see it again, and perhapse that troubled him most...that he'd see his brother again. Or did it?

"If there ever was hope for redemption it's since left any vasting thoughts that I might have procured, as far as I am concerned, you're a lost soul with only one direction to go, straight to hell!"

But did he really believe that? If it came down to it could he really let her perish with out so much as raising a hand, if it were that easy wouldn't he have already put her down himself? He allowed those words to settle in for a moment, shocked per-se to have been able to muster them, this would be the first woman he ever forsook.

"Now...I have a city to atleast attempt to save, something you'll never do, feeling's you'll never know. I'll have achieved more in my short mortal life than you will in the millenia's you've lived and still may live."

Speachless he turned, one foot step becoming two, three, four. Until his image flickered. He was walking into the fray, into the hell that was to come. Ayenee Capital City was burning, but would he let it?

Ignorant to the spy, the visitor who now approached and touched Novelly, a woman he may still have a place for in his old, beating heart.

However easy it was for him to push off to the view of Novelly what he felt inside, he couldn't ignore it himself. He was human, filled with emotion. He felt the pain of his lost loved ones, he felt the despair, guilt, and shock of his brothers death and the sudden visions. And yet like any man he felt the lust for a beautiful woman, and Novelly made her self so well known to him.
Fate indeed had a sense of humor, one so strong as to allow this man to strike this woman. She could've moved or grabbed his arm, yes, but choose instead to let his flesh strike at her. Would it make him feel any different if for a moment he thought himself strong enough to cause her pain? The force of the blow caused her head to turn, eyes staring off intot he direction in which he swung. She could already feel her cheek reddening, and the sting began to take hold.. Wait, what was this? The taste of copper poured into her maw, hazing her senses with its alluring taste. Drip..Drip.. There it came slithering from the corner of her lip.

Her tongue rolled inside her mouth, lapping up the taste that now smothered every sense she had available. She saw red.

However, she'd turn and begin to walk in the opposite direction. Though one couldn't begin to fathom why there had been an eerie grin spread upon her lips, especially after what just happened. "I'll see you there.

She would've continued to walk, had it not been for the stranger that simply appeared after Darren turned his back on her. Her eyes narrowed, observing the silhouette of this individual, head tilting toward the side in curiosity. That voice... Her head turned to regard Darren as the voice slithered from the hood of the cloak. "Yes.." Attention would once again rest on the shadowed figure, corners of her lips beginning to perk in recognition. The blood freely ran now, pooling at her chin.

She somewhat leaned into the individual, listening to the words he spoke. "Took you long enough.."

The clawed digit that traced over the insignia caught her undivided attention. Why the hesitation? "Surprised to see it?" One brow rose, head inclining somewhat to look at the symbol herself. It's been there.. for a long, long time.
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Scorn DarkTide

Ebon laced red eyes, broken hearted promises crushed to a deserted waste, swallowing voids of restless souls. Dying, death, and decay. Those were wished apon the world.

There was no order, no hierarchy of pawns that would become his allegiance. There was only the chaos theory, that in the end his chaos would destroy everything. That in the end he would be left alone with a world of insects to govern, that every many woman and child would be dead, cracked skulls under his taloned foot. This was Scorn DarkTide, the beast at the center of it all. For in the very heart of Ayenee Capital City, standing where the famous Kellindil Monument used to stand was that very fiend.

A young school girl in one hand, and old crippled lady in the other. Their skin lashed, flesh hanging in strips from their crimson stained bodies, pores wripped wide, infection had already begun. Their pain unbearable, their tears long since run dry, their weaping but hushed whimpers, dried mouths. They had nothing left, nothing but the hope that it would end all to soon.

He made no vocal impression or orders, psionic communication whipped his army back into the fray, a lowly song would Nalfeshe', Marilith, Balor. Mane, Cambion, and more. T'was but a momentary pause.

Oh yes, he commanded, or did he? Was the Abyss perhapse just let loose? Chaotic hell was in this city and Scorn surveyed from immunity with in it all, no single man could possibley get to this fiend un-noticed. Acute senses picked out the simplest prick of a pin to the crushing of earth by a weaponed hand, he heard every word Darren said, every harsh, lashing Novelly returned....and he smiled... That's his girl.

Finally those crimon bourne eyes rested on the piper...just before his mouth widened, impossibley large, crooked, jagged, acidic like teeth and lips impressed their self down, wrapping, even coccooning this old woman's head...Oh she had some fight left in her...but it was to late, her screams were muffled, barely heard to the little girl in his other arm...and then there was nothing. Nothing but a tapered husk of a fountainous, headless neck falling to the earth...Oh but she was alive..squirming, rolling...what pain she must have felt in those split seconds before the life left her body, before the essence of this old man retreated...not into his mouth, or chest, or eyes...but into his free hanging groin, it grew.

He wanted the piper to see this, he wanted Darren to see this, he wanted the whole world to see this...and they would. Through the marvel of modern technology, he looked to the the reporters in their flying craft.

"And for you...shh.shh.."

he looked at the little girl in his other arm...her fight returned as well, how quaint...his lips began to part.
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Perched high overhead onto a leafless limb of a dying tree, there was a diminutive creature with high-extending, impossibly white feathered wings watching the streets of Ayenee Capitol City below. Those innocent observing cerulean eyes were dimming in purity at simply the sight of the suffocating forces of evil wrecking the realm with its carnage and cruelty. It was too much, and in that ‘golden’ heart, it gave way to great sympathy for the victims of this war on the people and land. The population was losing, not only in the capitol, but for thousands of miles around which served very well as an attack too vast to defend. Where were the heroes? Where were the forces of good uniting to weaken the forces of evil?

This creature looked on, away from a monster holding a girl in one hand and an elderly woman in the other, away from their torment and misery from which there was no salvation. That gaze extending onward over buildings consumed by flame, smoke rising to darken the heavens above, and tortured cries of burning men, women, and children as their souls fled their bodies only to find no great beyond, but only enduring anguish.

There was a twitch of those impressive wings and as a single pristine feather departed the whole and drifted its way down to the streets, swept slightly by winds carrying ash so densely it was like a miniature blizzard. And as that feather landed at the feet of the monster standing before the Kellindil Monument, the little girl known by only few as Haven Feriah, wondered when her mother would come to grant the destruction-plagued realm some peace.

Though perhaps the most poignant of many distressing events was that this child who carried with her the wings of an angel, and certainly appeared the part, was giving into a measure of self-doubt and weakening resolve in the ethics she held dear.

Was it possible that all she saw below her was deserved? Was it… meant to be?


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The notes are pure, the heart is strong, the voice is clear, and the music is enthralling. Astaroth casually picks his way through the winding streets of Capitol City, making his way to the heart of the city. All the time more people are pulled from the wreckage, come out of hiding, and fall in line with the procession behind the man with the golden eyes.

Before the man lay a scene of carnage and hatred. An atrocity of distaste for those less than themselves, the city has fallen into decay. Disrepair and discontent...the powers that be ever deaf to the cries of the meek and the helpless. A voice for the meek I shall be. To strengthen the weak and weaken the hold of the strong on the meek. Astaroth thought himself. Ever wondering and ever thoughtful of those who've downtrodden the masses and forgotten them in their arrogance or those that only wish to bring anguish and torment to these poor simple beings of Ayenee.

Astaroth had arrived now though, to lead, to aid, to guide, to protect those that were but a blade of grass in a forest of omnipotence. He continued his march towards the center of the city and when a Marilith launched a flaming vehicle in the man's direction, he stood steadfast and stoic with the song on his lips against the carnage being brought to bear against him. The explosion of the vehicle scattered the masses following Astaroth and sent him careening through the air to slam against a tree that still stood in this forest of concrete and steel. The air left his body, his bones cracked and fire poured through his body from the pain of the blast. The mans song stuttered and all those with him stopped, stunned and gazed at him. With a confidence and determination Astaroth arose to his feet, the fires of agony burning through his body, he set his feet under him and steadily retrieved his dropped lute. The song again left his lips, with more robust now than before. A set determination in his eyes he marched towards the demonic beasts that have been enraged by his song. With a will of iron and a heart of gold the man purposedly strode towards the thickest of the demonic horde, his song shifting into that cacophony of destruction that makes the ears bleeds and the head throb. The asphalt streets under his feet cracked and buckled under the power of his song, vehicles ripped asunder and lesser demons, manes and dretches, disintegrated into piles of quivering goo as the cacophony overwhelmed their senses and spirits. The greater nightmare beings cackled in ecstasy at the destruction being wrought upon their pathetic minions, the will of the Darktide driving them forward to greater and more horrendous exploits.

The man briefly took count of his followers, all of them huddled together as a helpless mass, quivering and shivering in fear for their lives and their loved ones lives. To the back of the crowd the Darglore picked himself up again, time and hardship had taken their toll on the old mans body, but his spirit had lost not of its potency and determination. That foul beast Novelly haranged the poor elderly man, hoping to raise his ire and bring more pain into the mans already wrecked life. Yet Astaroth let the beast do its thing as he knew Darglore's were much stronger than they appeared. That may have been why he chose them, those many years ago in ages past when he was a being of a different name and nature.

Now though the man no longer had time to dwell upon the happenstances to his rear as a great explosion could be heard and felt ahead as the Inquisitor released his psychic fury upon the heart of the Capitol City. The Kellendil monument must lay in ruin now. Astaroth mused to himself. That shining pillar of hope and glory of times past was desecrated and now lay in utter ruination as the unimaginable forces that have been brought to bear on the City begin to flex there might. Why have I come back? Astaroth again thought to himself. The beings here are without morals and without restraint. They bring death and dismay for no cause other than their own personal satisfaction and pleasure. They torment and harass those of a lesser stature than themselves. And that is why I'm here, my song may not be able to save them all, but it will hopefully save enough so that a better utopian can be built on the ashes of the past.

As Astaroth mused, his cacophony tore into the demons that seek to rend his body into gory pieces. Instead though they found themselves unbound, the magicks that held them to this prime plane being undone and discorporated along with there physical incarnations. The mans song grew louder, reaching its crescendo as the demons in the area discorporated into nothingness, sent screaming back to the Abyss from which they were spawned. A triumph the man thought, a small triumph but one just the same. Spent and worn from the pain and the power of the song the man stopped to rest for a moment. His golden eyes gazing around the ruination of the city, part of it caused by his song.

As his eyes glanced around the city, taking into account the destruction, the beast responsible for all the pain and mayhem being caused in the city toyed with its prey. He watched helplessly as the old woman's tormented life was mercifully brought to an end. Her pain a past as her spirit was set loose, but then the uncaring beast did the unthinkable, devoured the woman's spirit. Astaroth just stood helplessly watching the scene, unable to divert his gaze from the atrocities the beast commited. Flanked to his left and right were the Demons, Deceit and Despise. Unafraid for his own life Astaroth stood strong, looking around for those who may have a chance of getting these people to safety. A few strode forward from the local defense force to take the burden but Astaroth had another in mind. "Darglore." Spoke Astaroth, standing stoically hoping the aging hero would hear his plea for aid.
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Darren Darglore​

What was the life of one in comparison to the life of many. It was a calculation burdened to the aging warrior. Every day of his life he was met with choices good and bad, hardships unto his shoulders. Astaroth stood little to no chance alone, or so he thought. But the towns people, brave as they were...compared to the tanar'ri were infants.

They were strong, but not enough. He fought because they could not. He stood strong, so they could run. He would die, so they could live.

And it was with those calculations, what felt like decades were made in seconds.

"You're songs are strong...bard...But they will not be enough."

Thin limbs, they looked so frail, like tooth picks to his slim, almost anorexic form carried him between the beast's and Astaroth.

It was then, sudden madness. The marilith, the balor. Deciet and Despise made their move. That snakish femalien's hiss tormented his ears, a small nuisance to the honed mind of the Pyromantic Prophetic, he shook his head.

The ass end of Luminex found it's hold in a crevice at his feet, inclined towards the Marilith who already made her way in their direction, a river of ice in her wake, frozen statues of the now deceased crushed 'neath her girth.

Faster, harder, seemed hopeless, airborne, six arm's swinging, grabbing, groping, slicing, weaponed hands...He was doomed...

Slitted silver eyes became beats of infernic orange...the ice...melted, his hair, once nappy braids of dust beame emblazoned curls of fire, his clothing...once tattered robes reduced to ash 'pon his naked frame...and the Luminex sparked. It's divine light driving outwards in a nova of righteousness..The marilith, airborne had no chance, she went from inches of with in his form to yards away on her back, she began to rise...The balor stared, just out of the light's range.

"tanar'ri..." He whispered, and then his gaze turned towards Scorn...and the little girl he knew, Blaise Feriah's daughter.

"Let! her! go!"

One command from an aging warrior...still fuel in his tank, they may not fear him, they may not respect him, but they will know him.

Already replacing the light was a cone of magic fire, something that could annoy even the greater and true tanar'ri, his holy spirit flowed through every licking flame.

But unseen to both him, and Astaroth was a pronged, scourge... It's lashes broke through the flame, encasing his right arm in their needle like hold, contorting his face into what could be surmised as a combination of both pain and horror.

Left hand risen, Luminex already made it's way 'pon the taut leather like substance but then it shook, and to his horror Darren's feet left the ground. Pulled through the flames, a protective wall that may or may not buy Astaroth and the city time to escape, but what was happening on the other side of that wall?

All that remained was silence...or were the flames to loud for his screams to be heard?
He waited, a patient lord, a centuries old disease. A locust to a host. Feeding off of it's people, it's energy, it's very soul.

Astral fingers diseasing the land, talonless toed impressions. Foot print after foot print left in his wake. He was hidden, he was Gargauth.

Surveying the war, the battle. How easy it would be to assassinate all that stood in his way.

Novelly Skyefyre, she took his most faithful. Scorn DarkTide, a thorn, an annoyance, nothing else. Lower than even the dirt crushed with in the cracks of his feet. Darren Darglore, he still to this day fights to redeem his brother, another obstacle to his faithful Vaticus.
And this bard...amusement.

It would be so easy...

But that's not what he wanted...He wanted this land to bleed, he wanted it to beg. He wanted it's denizens to need him. Not just for wishes, desires and fantasies...he wanted it to need him for their salvation. And so he watched the battle..a careful hand stemming it's way to his lips...a twitching finger dousing the flame...a pathway for the tanar'ri to continue their on slaught..

He would be...the savior...and then... well that brought a smile to his lips.
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Ah, there a hero was. Perhaps she had just failed to see him or he had come to the rescue only moments before. Two inhuman creatures rose up to attack this poor man who acted with selflessness and fought so valiantly for what was good and right. Thankfully he had a trick up his sleeve that gave him any chance against Deceit and Despise, because this hero would have been torn and devoured in a matter of an instant had he not.

Haven could not help but smile at the beautiful act and the heart of a hero shining through despite the impossible odds. That was what she had needed to see, but still somewhere in the back of the little girl’s mind she wondered if the hero was supposed to lose, and if evil was meant to prevail. What of destiny? Or did it even exist? Why this doubt?

Doubt didn't seem to make sense at the sight of a man coming to save the girl in the monster's hands who was surely about to meet her end. Haven watched on with great interest on the scene, remaining unheard and unseen.
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The masses stand awestruck and flaberghasted, their minds recoiling from the horrors and trepidations they've faced. Dismayed and disillusioned and the failure of their "Heroes" and "Gods," and then these strangers arrivals. Though their motives may be different, their actions work towards a common goal.

The Inquistor, Rand Blackstone, and his loyal guardsmen and servitors, strangers to this land yet have come to fight the evil from the Abyss that threatens this city. Not for the safety of the city, but the elimination of any foul taint that the Deamons may leave behind.

The venerable warrior, Darren Darglore, who's arm may be weak, but heart remains pure. Constantly seeking redemption and justification for an act that made him the being he is today, a true selfless champion of light, but still a mere shadow of his former self.

This enigmatic bard, Astaroth, seeker of the primal song. A song so old that its first notes sounded when the multi-verse was first created by the three of Power. (OCC Note: My original Gargy creation world had three overgods in a military This man whoms words could topple kingdoms, yet stops in his trek to aid a lost child.

These were the new heroes of Ayenee. While the old forces sit idle in their gilded cages, watching and wringing their hands in glee at the entertainment these people's suffering brings to them.

Again Astaroth stood stoically against these horrid Tanar'ri that seek to consume him and his song. That song of hope and inspiration, a single voice of purity and selflessness in a world of dismal conditions and dominated masses. Astaroth stands aside as Darren takes his place between him and the demons that seek to end his life. A smirk behind the Darglore's back as this being with eyes of gold turns towards those that hear the hope in his song. Those notes of the primal song that have beguiled these people of Ayenee, again speaks to them.
*To the glistening Tower, you must now go,
and await the arrival of another not known.
From the skies he will come, a being of old,
to guide you to safety in lands unknown.*

With the song on their lips and their hearts full and strong, the masses turn west on their march through the broken city, buildings swaying and burning in their death throes around them. Yet they stride fearlessly onward towards their destination, that shining sky scrapper in the distance. Salvation or damnation, they know not which awaits them at their destination.

Again Astaroth turns, in time to see the flames erupting from Luminex. His song changes this time, ever so subtly, the sound of his voice and the strumming of his lute interwined within each, the melody haunting and beautiful. An aura of gold begins to emanate from him, quickly growing in intensity. The aura continues to expand, reaching out towards Darren just as he's pulled within the flames by the Balor, Despise. Astaroth scowls for a moment, continuing his song as the wall of flames leap towards the skies. His features resuming that pristine look of contentment, his golden aura continuing to expand outward.

Suddenly Darren's wall of flames wink out of existence, revealing Scorn's horde and the Darglore within the talons of those demon lords, Deceit and Despise. Astaroth's fingers deftly strum the lute in his hands, his song continuing unabated, strong and pure. Reaching out to bolster and embolden, protect and heal, empower and aid. That primal song that has been unheard by all but a select few, those words of creation uttered by the three and still heard by those who know how to hear. Watching and waiting, Astaroth bides his time, waiting till the masses are safely away and then.....
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Meanwhile, watching this all.

A man and woman both clade in layers of white clothing - the woman's robes embroidered with golden traceries and silvery symbols, the man's underneath polished armor that shines with what must be an inner light - look down from the roof-tops to the destruction below.

"Light be praised, we have arrived when we seem to be needed the most."

The man speaks to the woman at his side, one of his hands previously folded across his chest drop down to the sword sheathed at his side.

"Patience Arthur, this land is in the process of being purged. Let whatever fel workings that have laid ruin to this place linger a while longer..."

She pauses, a look of concern and alarm briefly passing over the pristine smile normally planted on her face.

A look of worry passes over Arthur's face. "What is it Serene?"

"I sense great darkness, abominations to everything the Light stands for...more than I've ever felt before..."

But as soon as it comes, the troubled look upon Serene's face is washed away with the calm, calculated, and kind features of before.

"But know this good Paladin - When our time comes we must act. We must not hestitate. We must bring the Light to this land and stand strong against the darkness."

Arthur nods. "Of course Serene. As the Light wills it."

"As the Light wills it."

Hurridly, both the figures in white make their way back from where they came, down the ruined staircase of the tower out to the dangers below....
Small Mercies

Shas acted in discretion.

Only days ago, he would have called it cowardice, but it wasn't him speaking the words. Well, not entirely. He had recently given up control of great power to once again maintain control of his own actions. To no longer be driven by that mad hunger and to accept a less demanding, though no less evil, hunger once again.

Dressed in the dandy and toney clothes of the Victorian upper class, he wound through the blighted, nightmarish landscape that his city had become. Shas came to the defense of it's people, but he was limited in his actions. He struck at other vampires, who had taken advantage of the Tanar'ri invasion to run, unrestrained. He also struck at the lesser of the demons, such as vrocks, already-weakened Succubi and Incubi, cambions and alu-fiends, and their near-human kin, tieflings. He managed, through cunning, to bring down a nalfeshnee by collapsing a spire upon it. Now he and several Capital City militia were facing off against a glabrezu. Odds were in his favor and the glabrezu was weakened enough he felt the militia could handle it on their own. He rushed forward to face a marilith. But when he came upon her, both he and the creature recognized each other. "J'rizaka?" She had lost one of her four arms to some other combatant. "ssss..S..has? You are enemy to us, now? Make up your mind, cur!" They both turned away to strike down respective attackers, who sought obvious advantages provided by distraction. The blade of Shas pierced and tore at the manes, whom sought to press the attack whilst their leader spoke to him. Meanwhile, J'rizaka easily fought off two would-be, modern-day Paladins that had traded blades for guns.

Shas spun around and twirled the shikomizue blade cleanly across and through the neck of the marilith. Her head rolled off and bounced twice before coming to a halt. A fountain of viscous, pus-yellow blood exploded from the stumped neck. The body fell over and Shas shook his head. Then he remembered Marilith's are telepathic. Every demon in the vicinity turned away from the mayhem they caused and focused on Shas. He didn't stand a chance as they rushed toward him, some of them at preternatural speeds. A literal wave of dretch, quasits, hezrou, manes, rutterkin, and vrock. Shas lost could when he ciphered a two score. He assumed battle posture...then, the calvary arrived. A small compliment (probably all that was left) of Ayenee Police Department's powered-armor sped in, assisted by the booster modifications recently upgraded. They order Shas to clear the way and he barely had time to assume his vaporous form and sink into the sewers before they unleashed bullets, lasers, and probably small rockets. When he reformed down below, he could hear the explosions and dashed away from the scene, as quickly as he could. The structural integrity was bound to give out under the combined weight of the masses of tanar'ri, coupled with the force of so much explosive ordinance. That spelt disaster for anyone fool enough to be below ground at that location.

Thus, Shas made haste. He took a moment to orient himself, and used the fairly unoccupied sewers to reach the Kellindil Monument. Thus, he came out of a man-hole in time to see...that he had jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire...Scorn Darktide, several of his most trusted, a veritable army of demons, one of the few remaining Darglores, and, of all things, a bard who seemed to be directing a gaggle of the miserable masses in one direction or another, much as the Pied Piper of Hamelin led the children from their homes, holding them in ransom for payment...or the rats he led to drown in the river. Ried Shas climbed to his feet and used one foot to drag the manhole cover back over. He brushed some dust and random detritus from himself before looking around at the gathered masses. After the cursory inspection, he cleared his throat. "Seems I've missed the party..." said Shas, rather loudly, jest evident in his voice.
When the flames cleared, doused by the hidden hand of Gargauth Scorn had already encompassed the tiny head of that little girl. Her screams...barely heard through the enclosed flesh of the fiends lips, gill like slits parted. Perhaps providing enough air that the girl wouldn't suffocate.

Oh how he savored the taste, the flesh, the fear. A nightmarish fiend feeding off the fear of this little girl, feeding off the energy emitted by her struggles, she was extacy.


The aging warrior's scream rippled the air, where his frail body failed, his heart and mind more than made up. The Balor who already began to rend the flesh from bone was forced to release that grip, it's scourge popping at the leather as his holy flame began to justifiably envelope it's contours in serpentine strides of fire.

Yes indeed, Darren's mind and heart made up for his lacking body. For not a single finger was lifted to overpower this fiends grip, a lifetime alone of pain, punishment, and betrayal.

He felt the pain of having his family stolen from him by his own brother, the punishment of his very soul for killing, no murdering his brother...Vaticus in self defense. and the betrayal of those he cared for. This alone made him the man he is today, able to walk among the gods and devils alike and fight for those who can not, but this may be more than he can....handle.

Darren had doubts in his mind, he was certain his time of death had come, but if that were the case he'd take this seed of evil with him, Scorn DarkTide.

These thoughts, these motions, these powers. Seconds had passed in the creation of their activity, he broke the Balor's grip, his bare feet leaving divets of ash in their wake. He lept towards he lept towards the girl...And just as he made contact his image flickered to a resounding pop, near deafening to the ears of those near by. Reality had been split, and the girl once held by Scorn hit the ground, beneath Darren Darglore some fifteen feet from where they once were...

Her screams never ending... it was to late, her face, beyond repair, flesh ripped, her nose gone, eyes devoured, cheeks flattened..lips burnt.. It was as if acid devoured her flesh and eating utensils carved away what was left...she was

And for those few moments Darren stared, horror filled...doubt destroyed any sense of self preservation, when he turned to stare at the beast it was then... that he heard the bards song.

Uplifting, his spirit's rose and common sense returned before his wreckless hatred for something so evil brought his journey's end.

However Scorn wasn't looking at Darren, he was looking at Novelly, and from his seated position upon the crushed Kellindil Monument he rose allowing the world to witness his girth, fifteen feet of scraping flesh leading to chiseled bone and fountains of blood.

Relatively still until now, he let the fiends do his work.

"Bring me...!"

The command was never spoken, it simply existed. A boom that erupted from his bones, talonesque. His digits were no longer clawed fingers, but shedding flesh, nail like bones. Extended directly at Novelly.

Far enough away, if she was paying attention she could see the approaching Marilith, Deceit, and the Balor, Despise...and even get away before they could get to her...if she really wanted too.

And then he looked down at Astaroth...that song egging away, annoying him to no end.

Already Darren stepped around the vicinity of The DarkTide, standing side by side with brave Astaroth. There was something special, even unique about this musician that compelled him to...

Ignore the pain, after all it wasn't that bad, stare down the demon, he wasn't that scary. Stand up, they weren't that big, and beat them down, They weren't that strong!

The great wyrm, Gilden Tongue, soared above the city, its great wings stretched as he flew on the wind currents. His golden scales, glistening in the sun's rays as the Tanari'ri horde brought terror and carnage to the people below. Towards the Tower he flew, at the call of Astaroth. Ancient and wise, powerful and mighty this dragon of a forgotten age, pulled by the sound of the primal song, Gilden Tongue flew unerringly towards the Tower of concrete and steel that remained in the distance. A flight of dragons in his wake, greens, blues, bronzes, and coppers, a myriad of colors and sizes. Gilden Tongue leads the flight as they make their way to the western portion of the City, where the Tower still stands and the masses now flee. Below the ancient beast its uncanny eyesight picks out the two figures of the bard and the venerable warrior. Others taking notice of the encounter below are spotted as well, but this is not where the song compels him to go. On to the tower and then to the ground, to carry the masses fleeing the city, in a great winged exodus, to lands as old as Ayenee, now abandoned and forgotten.

And so the flight of dragons passes over the city, barely observed by those below as most have more than enough on their hands preoccupying them. Circling the tower in a downward spiral, the dragons descend to ground level, some perching on buildings, others landing in the streets.

The throng of people make their way towards this unbelievable scene. Dragons, dozens, maybe a hundred or more, dragons sitting still and watching as the masses make their way towards them. A gigantic golden beast stands beside a bus, twice as big as the vehicle it stands beside, Gilden Tongue snakes his head in the direction of those leading the mass of humanity, and other beings. Scenes of carnage lay to their rear, the Inquistor and his guardsmen moving to block any pursuing Tanari'ri from the fleeing mutlitudes.

"Into the bus, many as can fit." Gilden Tongue yelled at the masses. "And then when that is full, pile into any other cars, trucks, trains, anything you can fit in. My kin and I are here to take you to safety." The power of the song still in their still in their hearts, the men, women, and children begin to pile into anything available. A train, mini-van, dumpsters, anything sturdy enough to carry a few people.

(OOC: If rand shows back up, tell him sorry to say what his guy was doing, but figured he would do just that. *ShrugS* but inquisitors are weird, they may just try to kill the unarmed citizens running past
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